Can I tell you a little about my oldest?
She’s a spitfire at times, that’s for sure, and she’s good about keeping me on my toes. At three years old, she loves people like it’s her job. Her first words to anyone at any time are, “Hi! I’m Abby.”
As an introverted Mama who’s working through anxiety issues, it makes me smile to see her readiness to accept others. And at the same time, I often bring my own fears into my parenting. My daughter also takes after me in many other ways, and at times the lines can get blurry.
The other night, for example, we went out to eat with our church (something we do often in the summer because our numbers are fairly low). Our tables were next to a group of about 5 adults and 3 kids, the 2 girls being around Abby’s age. I watched as she watched them playing, smiling the whole time and pointing out to me their games. And I choked back tears.
How many times have I sat back and watched others “play?” Smiling, yes, but feeling the all-too-quick bite of jealousy and desire for acceptance? To be noticed for being me? And at the same time, hiding so that they won’t see?
The girls left before our meals arrived, but the replay was stuck in my head for the rest of the evening and into the night. I cried over the scene (which I could easily blame on late pregnancy hormones, but for once I won’t). And then? I heard that still, small voice.
“That’s not what happened.” What? Of course it was! I saw it! “No. You saw your own hurts. Abby was smiling. She didn’t ask to get down or to play. She was content where she was, watching them. Don’t make your fears into hers.”
My fears for Abby look a lot different than her actual fears. I worry that I’m not doing a good enough job as her mother because I’m so introverted. She needs people, she needs relationships, and I often feel like I’ve failed her because most of my connections with others are online, even if I know them in person. I’d rather stay home and text someone than call them or even spend time with them outside of the house.
And her fears? Well, they look more like nightmares about her friends leaving her and taking her phone with them. And she’s more upset about the phone being gone than her friends leaving her. (No joke. She actually dreamed that. And no, she doesn’t have her own phone.)
My girl is growing up to be fearless despite her fearful mother. And her sister, who likes to stay at home and snuggle with me, also loves people and making them smile. I was able to see that again today, and once again, I’m thankful that ultimately, they are in God’s hands and not mine!